Florida v. City of Weston: Helping Local Lawmakers Challenge Unconstitutional Penalties
Case Information: Florida Governor et al. v. City of Weston et al., No. 1D19-2819 (Fla. Ct. App. brief filed January 2, 2020).
At Issue: Florida’s preemption law limits local regulation in the field of firearms and purports to impose harsh penalties, including fines and removal from office, on local officials found to violate the law. Officials from Weston, Coral Springs, Broward County, and other localities filed lawsuits against the Governor challenging the penalty provisions of this law. On July 26, 2019, a trial court in Florida struck down the penalty provisions of Florida’s preemption law, siding with the position Giffords Law Center argued for in the amicus brief we submitted in the case. The Governor appealed the court’s decision, and the case is now before the First District Court of Appeal in Florida.
Giffords Law Center’s Brief: Our brief, filed jointly with the League of Women Voters of Florida, Brady, and Equality Florida Institute, urges the court to affirm the trial court’s order invalidating the penalty provisions of Florida’s preemption law. Our brief explains that under this dangerous law, local legislators can be personally punished if they vote for a local ordinance later found to impinge upon the field of firearms regulation, and this law is part of a troubling national trend toward punitive preemption of regulation that might touch on the subject of firearms. We argue that this type of preemption law will chill legitimate exercises of local legislative authority in areas that are not preempted, and that there is no evidence that the harsh penalty provisions are necessary to enforce the preemption law or protect Second Amendment rights.